Chapter Twenty-Four


"Bewwa, no! I'm the magician. Just stand thewe and wait fow me."

We'd stolen Mr. Fred's bunny from next door, the fluffy brown one with the long ears. Well, Edward said we'd borrowed him and we'd give him back.

For some reason, I didn't believe him.

"But I wanna do it," I argued defensively. "You didn't even make him go away!"

Edward huffed and draped his Superman blanket on top of the cardboard box. "That's 'cause you not pullin' the blankie away on time. Wait 'til I say abawa-cadabwa and then you pull."

"And now, fow the gweatest magwic twick in all of the land, I pwesent to you… Bunzilla, the disappeawing wabbit!" Edward waved a wilted stick overtop of the box. "On the count of thwee, I will make the bunny go away. One… two… thwee… ABAWA-CADABAWA!"

I pulled away the blanket really fast, but when we both looked, Bunzilla was still there, wiggling his little nose.

"You suck!" I said angrily. I stomped my feet and threw his stupid blankie on top of his head.

"Take it back!" he yelled, tossing his blanket on the ground.



Edward pushed me down on the muddy ground, getting my pretty dress all dirty. Mommy was gonna be so mad. He pulled my ear, so I pinched his nose, both of us rolling around. We kept wrestling until he pinned me down and the Band-Aid on my elbow fell off.

"Let me up," I begged. His chubby fat was getting heavier by the second.

"Say I'm the best magician evew!" he taunted.

Smirking, I repeated his words. "I'm the best magician evew!"

"Stupid Bewwa!" Edward fumbled trying to stand up. "You not my fwiend anymowe!"

"Aww, c'mon!" I pouted and crossed my arms. "Don't say that! Mommy said we had to get awong."

"I don't cawe! You'we being a meany!"

His big green eyes watered, and I felt bad. I didn't like making my friend sad. Even if he was fat.

"I'm sowwy," I said. "How do I make it bettew? You want my Band-Aid? Daddy said they make the boo-boos go away!"

"Nuh uh. I want you to get in the box. I wanna see if I can make you disappeaw, too."

I was worried. Even though Bunzilla was still there, what if Edward's trick really worked? What if I disappeared in the box forever and ever?

"Don't be afwaid, Bewwa. I pwomise to bwing you back."

"You won't weave me?"

"Nope." Edward grinned and picked up my grimy Band-Aid and tried to stick it onto my elbow. It hung halfway off.

"You awe my bestest fwiend," he said, taking the bunny out of the box and helping me inside. The cardboard closed over me. "I'll be caweful."

"It's dawk in here," I complained.

"Twust me, Bewwa. When I say the magwic word, you'll see the wight."

He enjoyed seeing me in pain. Somehow, I think he thrived from it. It was as if my anguish kept him going, kept him moving.

Everything else, like happiness, was irrelevant. But for me, the pain tore at my insides, ravishing it all from the inside out.

"Fucking hell, Bella. I can't do it!" Edward sat on the swing, complaining and grumbling as his legs struggled to stretch forward and back.

"You asked me to help you so-"

"I know what I asked," he spat. "So help already. Don't just stand there, telling me what to do."

I sighed and grabbed him by the feet, slowly pulling them outward before giving him a slight push. I tried to ease his legs back, bending them at the knee when he howled.

"Stop!" Edward winced and grabbed the pole connected to the swing to halt his rocking. "That hurts! Just stop. You're making it worse."

No, you're making this impossible.

"Fine." I sat on the empty seat beside him, pushing my legs outward. He glared at me.

"Are you showing off now? Is that it? Oh, look at me. I'm Bella, and I can swing up to the damn trees!" His voice mocked that of a female. "Fucking show off!"

"I'm sorry, I just-"

"That's right. You are sorry."

I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to push him off the swing, leave him lying on the ground, and drive off. He thought his childish behavior had no consequences, that I would just sit here and take this.

When I stood up, his glare softened. It was like Jekyll and Hyde; some bipolar bullshit that scared the living crap out of me. He couldn't be the same person, the very one that could push me away while embracing me all at once.

"Do you love me, Bella?"

The question was simply complicated, asked in an eerie but calm voice. Edward gazed at me from the corner of his eye, waiting patiently, as if he didn't already know the answer. Love was what made me stay. It's what made me endure, kept me going when I wanted to give up. Love and all of the ugliness it entailed was supposed to be beautiful. It was never meant to scar.

But scar it did, leaving nasty gashes that would never heal.

"You know I do," I replied quietly.

"So why are you trying to leave?"

"I wasn't," I lied, facing the opposite direction.

"You were. You know I don't want to go home, having Carlisle and Esme ride my ass all day. You know Emmett and Jasper don't understand me like you do. But you aren't sympathetic to me at all. You're trying to leave me alone so that I'll have no one. Is that what you want? Did you want me to die in that fire?"

"What?" I asked in shock. "Edward, no! You know that's not true! I'm doing the best I can."

Edward shook his head in disgrace, as if he disbelieved my words.

"Baby, please." I jumped up from the swing, standing in front of him to grab his face, holding it to me. "I would never leave you. Do you honestly think I wanted you to die? Do you think I'm that horrible of a person? Tell me what I need to do! Tell me what I'm doing wrong!"

The droplets flowed from my eyes. I'd triggered something. I don't know what I'd did, but there I was again, making everything worse. How could I be so selfish? My Edward was hurting, and I was too busy worrying about myself that I wasn't giving him enough attention. I wasn't loving enough or caring enough. I let my frustration override my judgment, and the only one paying the price for my sins was Edward.

The air was filled with sounds of children giggling in the background. It was an opposition compared to the oxygen Edward and I breathed. Theirs was full of joy, whereas ours was filled with bitterness. Hate. Deception.

And guilt.

Always guilt.

"I want you to apologize, Bella," Edward said softly. "For yesterday, embarrassing me in front of our friends. For today, for not trying your best to help me. For that fucking fire, for not being there. I asked you to come over, but you said you had to help your mom instead. You chose her over me. And now you're choosing yourself. You'd rather go home than be with your best friend. If you want to go, then go. But if you stay, I want you to apologize and promise to put me first. I always did with you, and I'm not getting the same in return."

"Are you blaming me for what your father did?" I screamed. "Edward, that's preposterous! And I tried-"

"Apologize. NOW!" Edward's fury loomed over me. It was full of threats satiated with fear. "I swear, Bella, on everything that I am, I will fucking leave and I won't come back. Then you'll understand what it's like to be me, to hurt until your heart bleeds, to beg for air and get nothing in return. How would you like that, Bella?"

I can't.

I won't.





"I'm sorry."

Ah, and now we see. Edward secretly blames Bella for not being there. Not that she could have helped him, but still. I think these two need a little parental guidance. Whaddya think?

MariahajilE threatened DatBetchward! How dare you?! The wrath of a muffin has no boundaries!

Blueeyedcherry, I think you are secretly a strawberry. Don't lie. It's written all over your seedy beautiful face.

READERS- I know Edward seems horrible. He is. Just refer back to chapter one and Bella's unwavering love to help him. Sometimes, though, it isn't enough. *cue foreshadowing music*